rhetoric and remembrance

Yesterday, as we all well know, was September 11, the 7th anniversary of what has become the touchstone moment of contemporary American (and, to a large degree, international) politics. I didn’t watch the coverage. This is a hard day for my family and me every year, and I have learned that the rhetoric surrounding–overwhelming, really–this date tends to infuriate and sadden me. My usual critical glee at fascinating ploys and manipulative wordplay can’t withstand the very real pain and anger that surround September 11.

So I managed to avoid most of it, until we turned on BBC America news (incidentally, the only news I can generally stomach) where they showed a clip of Obama and McCain at the WTC site (now “ground zero,” a phrase that I think it criminally overused and under-examined). I was fascinated to discover that on this day, and apparently only this day, “All of us came together on 9/11 — not as Democrats or Republicans — but as Americans.” This statement, released jointly by the competing presidential campaigns, brings up an interesting question:

Um, aren’t Democrats and Republics every day? Shouldn’t that identity, that community, trump party allegiance EVERY FREAKING DAY?

How is it that candidates for president of the United States are allowed to pat themselves on the back for acting, for one day only, as if they are more than just candidates for president of Democrats or Republicans?!

I will now refrain from further ranting about the callous and offensive use of September 11 in political stumping. But you should feel free… every freaking day.

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